Sports facilities that support athletes and competitions year-round could greatly benefit the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region.  

Seventy percent of kids drop out of organized youth sports by the age of 13. This means that only three out of 10 kids are continuing sports in high school, and even fewer are continuing to stay active as adults. Many factors lead to young athletes quitting their sport, but one of the main reasons kids stop exercising is because of their lack of access to sports facilities.  

Having public-use sports facilities would not only provide a place for youth and adults to participate in sports and an overall healthy lifestyle, but it could also help solve the issue of winter demand. The hospitality industry in Eugene sees an influx of visitors during the summer months from sports tourism, especially from elite track and field events. However, these same businesses struggle during the winter months. Restaurants and hotels often lay off staff and cut hours in the winter.   

By building more sports facilities with the ability to host practices and competitions year-round, hotels could stay consistently booked throughout the year and the region could attract the development of more hotels and restaurants. The much-needed additional hotel rooms would also help in the summer months when hosting large national and international events like the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field, the Prefontaine Classic and the NCAA D1 Outdoor Championships when hotels are at capacity.  

Cities like Medford, Oregon, and Spokane, Washington have recently built multiuse sports facilities, which have benefited their residents and attracted visitors, driving economic impact all year.  

While the Eugene-Springfield metro area needs additional indoor and outdoor sports facilities to help drive winter demand, other Pacific Northwest communities have taken steps to solve seasonality. Rogue Credit Union Community Complex (Rogue X) and Lithia and Driveway Fields in Medford, as well as The Podium in Spokane are great examples.  

J.B. Carney, senior director of the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Sports Commission, states, “These indoor and outdoor multiuse sports facilities have improved their communities by giving youth a place to exercise and be active, encouraging adults to continue to be active, hosting community events and entertainment, and providing economic impact all year through sports tourism and conferences. The Eugene-Springfield metro area is extremely underbuilt, recreational access to school facilities is limited, and youth sports programs must limit participation due to the lack of places to play. We must invest in our sports infrastructure for the wellbeing of our communities and long-term economic stability.”  

Indoor Multiuse Facilities

Liberty University Indoor Track

Hydraulic Banked Track at Liberty University

There are few multiuse hydraulic banked tracks in the US and the first facility west of the Mississippi opened in 2024 in Washington.

On the north bank of the Spokane River sits The Podium—an indoor multiuse sports facility that features a 200-meter, 6-lane indoor hydraulic banked track, long/triple jump, pole vault, high jump, weight throws and shot put. The facility also allows for 16 volleyball courts, nine basketball courts, 21 wrestling mats and flexible event space. 

The 135,000-square-foot facility with 75,000 square feet of competition space was strategically designed with both the community and visitors in mind as it sits in the heart of downtown Spokane right beside Riverfront Park. The venue can easily be accessed on foot from hotels and restaurants, and it is only eight miles from Spokane International Airport.  

College, club and high school teams all around the area utilize the facility for year-round training and competitions. The Podium hosts collegiate conference indoor track & field championships, middle school basketball championships, USA Volleyball national qualifying tournaments, professional indoor track & field championships, USA Wrestling championships, US Open and Junior National Handball Championships and USA Badminton Junior National Championships to name a few. 

The Podium cost $53 million to construct and opened in December 2021. The facility generated more than $45 million in its first year of being opened and is expected to generate more than $101 million in economic impact in its first five years of operation. From December to March of 2023, The Podium hosted 13 indoor track & field events, bringing tourists into the area during what is traditionally looked at as their slow season. This one facility has created the need for up to 33,000 hotel room nights per year.  

The brand-new Rogue X facility adds to the rapidly growing sports hub in Medford, Oregon. On January 6, the 140,000-square-foot, $76-million sports facility opened its doors to the public boasting a 76,000-square-foot multipurpose events center, a 13-lane indoor competition pool, an indoor recreation pool with multiple slides, an outdoor splash pad and ample space for food trucks. 

The event center can accommodate eight basketball courts, 16 volleyball courts, 364 trade show stalls and more. In 2024, the facility is set to host basketball, volleyball, cornhole, futsal, trade shows and special events.

In 2018, the City Council approved the concept of having an events center and competition pool in the same complex, financing was approved in 2020, construction began in 2022, and the facility opened in 2024. 

Eugene could follow suit. 

The Lane County Board of Commissioners have been presented an opportunity to build a multiuse indoor track and events facility at the Lane Events Center that would help drive much needed winter demand for hotels, improve the quality of life for residents and help to solidify and maintain Eugene’s valued community brand as TrackTown USA. The vision for the multiuse indoor sports facility would encompass a hydraulic, banked 200-meter indoor track that can be converted to 21 wrestling rings, 16 volleyball courts, nine basketball courts, 20 pickleball courts, or space for gymnastics, cheerleading or martial arts competitions. Outside of sports, the space can also host community events and conferences. 

Beyond the significant economic impact the facility would generate, it would give local youth  the necessary space to be able to train and compete in their sports and lessen the need to travel for competitions. The prime location and easy access also make it perfect for serving as an emergency shelter for residents.

Outdoor Sports Fields

The largest municipal installation of FieldTurf in the United States with nearly 1.5 million square feet of synthetic grass is in Medford, Oregon at the Lithia & Driveway Fields complex. Opened in May of 2008 at a cost of $32 million, the complex has hosted over 47,000 youth games and has generated over $160 million in economic impact. The complex generated close to $12 million in 2023.

The 132-acre park has three full-sized baseball fields, seven softball/baseball fields and five soccer/football fields. In 2023, the complex hosted adult softball, youth baseball, senior softball, fastpitch, soccer, youth fastpitch and more. With FieldTurf, the outdoor sports facility hosts events every month of the year, not needing to take a break because of rain or muddy fields despite being in Oregon. 

Again, Eugene has an opportunity to look similar. 

Golden Gardens is a 223-acre public park in northwest Eugene, just over four miles from Eugene Airport. Currently, the park merely consists of walking trails, old farmland fields and artificial quarry ponds.

The City of Eugene is working to build a sports complex in the park with 14 sports fields, including three full-size baseball fields, five softball/baseball fields, six soccer/football fields and a habitat conservation area with trails and a neighborhood park. This facility would be set up to host both practices and competitions with the potential to be the training base for Lane United FC’s men's and women's United Soccer League (USL) teams.

The community is in desperate need of an outdoor sports complex with enough fields and variety to support youth, adult and professional sports team practices and games. This complex would not only meet those needs, but it would also bring in revenue by hosting football, soccer, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, softball and baseball competitions year-round. 

Pickleball Complex

Eugene will soon be home to a dedicated indoor/outdoor pickleball-exclusive facility built for year-round competitions. 

According to Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), pickleball has continued to be the fastest growing sport in the United States in 2023 for the third consecutive year. 

With such a fast-growing, popular sport, it seems like there would be the appropriate facilities in communities like Eugene, Bend and Portland, but most pickleball facilities are either outdoor tennis courts that have been repainted to support pickleball or indoor tennis courts that are temporarily restriped for a game or two. Adding another barrier for users, many of these facilities require athletes to bring their own nets. 

This is why the Emerald Valley Pickleball Foundation—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 2021—is currently raising funds for a pickleball facility fit to host both recreational play and high caliber competitions. The facility would be open to the public and be able to host drop-in play, leagues, clinics, lessons and tournaments. 

This Regional Pickleball Complex would be located on the campus of Lane Community College, and it would feature 24 courts—seven more than any major pickleball events facility in the Pacific Northwest. Two of the courts would be designated championships courts with bleachers for spectators and 10 of the courts will be covered. In addition, all 24 courts would be lit for early morning and late night pickleball sessions. The source of electricity for the complex will come directly from solar panels. The complex will be built with proper dimensions, signage and markings for wheelchair accessibility.

Oregon communities like Bend and Beaverton host regional pickleball events, but athletes find themselves having to bounce back and forth between two or three court locations throughout the competition. While these communities have been successful in hosting pickleball competitions like the Pacific Northwest Diamond Regional and the Pacific Northwest Classic, the Regional Pickleball Complex being built in Eugene could easily host similar regional and even national events at one venue.

By having the pickleball complex at Lane Community College, the courts will be located just off Interstate 5 and not be nestled  in a neighborhood like most of the county’s existing  pickleball courts. Due to the social nature of the sport and noise from the paddles and balls, many residents who live by pickleball courts become disgruntled by the noise. 

The Emerald Valley Pickleball Foundation hopes to break ground in May 2025. The project's fundraising goal is $5 million, which will come from both public and private funds, and they hope to have most of the funds raised by the end of 2024. 

Other Facility Development

USRowing Event at Dexter Reservoir

USRowing Event at Dexter Reservoir

In addition to the need for multiuse indoor and outdoor facilities, there are other sports facilities seeking funding in the region.

Dexter Reservoir
Home to Oregon Association of Rowers (OAR), Dexter Reservoir is poised to be one of the premier rowing destinations in the Pacific Northwest. In 2023, the USRowing Northwest Masters Regional Championships brought in over $800,000 in estimated economic impact to the region and the event returns in 2024. The installation of hi-speed internet at Dexter Reservoir could enhance the electronic timing, athlete experience and spectator viewership at regional and national regattas held on the reservoir.

Oakridge Pump Track
Oakridge is known as the Mountain Biking Capital of the Northwest. In summer of 2023, the City of Oakridge Parks Committee presented a proposal for an $800,000 asphalt pump track to be built at the Oakridge Industrial Park. A measure to research the funding of a feasibility study was approved, and bids for the study are currently underway .

Emerald Valley BMX
Local BMX track Emerald Valley BMX hosts multiple events every year for all ages and skill levels. In 2023, Emerald Valley BMX hosted the USA BMX Lumberjack Nationals and the event brought in over $1.6 million in estimated economic impact to the region and the event is returning in 2024. Emerald Valley BMX is looking to raise $50,000 for new bleachers. 

The Rink Exchange
The University of Oregon Club Hockey Team, the Eugene Figure Skating Club, the Eugene Generals, Junior Generals and RHL Adult Hockey League are just some of the clubs using the Rink Exchange ice arena throughout the year at Lane Events Center. Since 2010, Hockey Oregon, LLC has operated the arena with Lane County. The arena is in need of a new sheet of ice and cooling system that will cost an estimated $500,000. Hockey Oregon has taken the initiative to start a 501(c)3 to raise funds for the project and will manage the construction expected to be completed by late summer. 

Lane Events Center Expo Halls
Webfoot—one of the few elite volleyball clubs in the region—practices on recycled hardwood gymnasium floors in Expo Halls at the Lane Events Center. For the facility to keep up with the talent and future of the club, the floors (among other operational functions of the building) need to be replaced. Costs are to be determined.


Let's Build It!


Sports tourism generates millions of dollars every year to the county economy and smart investments in sports facilities and infrastructure will help area athletes and families as well as drive economic impact well into the future. New facilities that support year-round competitions and tournaments will help boost the economy in the winter months when it is most needed by hotels and restaurants. Year-round hotel demand will encourage further hotel development that will help with compression in the summer.

If you support the development of a multiuse indoor track and event facility at Lane Events Center, please email Lane County Board of County Commissioners at

If you support the development of the sports complex at Golden Gardens Park, show your support by emailing the mayor and city council at

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support other sports infrastructure projects in Lane County, donate at Travel Lane County Charitable Fund.